ooh, burn! top chef.


You ever get that balky feeling when someone just assumes you must love something? Where even if they're right, it's irksome to be so predictable, so you just resist the pigeonhole, no matter what? Like, "Oh, you're an English major ... you must want to be an English teacher!" Well, no. Or, "You love reading about food/writing about food/watching Bravo/eating ... you must love Top Chef!"

Well, no.

At least, not until now.

After three (four?) seasons, I just couldn't engage. I saw the famous episode in which they attempted to forcibly shave the head of that AstroBoy-looking nimrod Marcel, but other than that, I just couldn't care. But I resolved to give it another chance this time around, and oh my god, can you believe that bitch thought her ostrich-egg quiche was gonna cut it? As Miley Cyrus might say, Whuuuut? Yeah, I'm hooked.

The other thing about not getting into a reality show is you don't really get any of the associated cultural (or should I say "cultural") commentary. It's like a big blank spot of jokes you don't get in the daily digital watercooler. But now I get it! So I was thrilled to find this, a new series on the Food Section, a lovely and very grown-up food blog: "Top Chef" Fact Check.

This week's topic is pretty gentle, taking issue with the term "New American." (Though they did sling the term "moleculista" at the alginate-using "spherical-olive" chef, a word I love and am stealing immediately.) But last week's quibble challenged the Stefan-Danny

"vinaigrette is/is not an emulsion" donnybrook. *

Definitive judgment: No less an authority than cooking chemistry godhead Harold McGee ruled, "A vinaigrette is a suspension of vinegar droplets in oil, so yes, it's an emulsion."

Oh, snap! Stefan, you got served, Euroboy. Welcome to America.

* Funny story about that scene: A certain eating-challenged OW staffer texted me repeatedly, "Vinaigrette is an emotion!" during the episode. Because I TiVo'd and watched days later, I had NO IDEA what he was talking about.